Antioch University New England (AUNE) awarded degrees to 196 graduates Saturday, May 12, at Keene High School. More than eight hundred participants attended the commencement exercises.
President David A. Caruso welcomed the graduates and guests and awarded the diplomas. “We are vesting the future of our institution in you,” he said. The graduates come from eighteen states, as well as China, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, India, Kenya, Turkey, and Rwanda.
Rinku Sen, journalist and racial justice activist who gave the commencement address, reminded people that racism still exists in institutions and in our society; it hasn’t just retreated into the minds of a few individuals. Most Americans assume that we now have a color-blind society and that’s as good as it gets. “But I think we all know that as good as it gets is not good enough,” Sen said. “People like Trayvon Martin are still paying with their lives.”
Sen is president and executive director of the Applied Research Center, a racial-justice think tank, and the publisher of Colorlines.com. She urged people to be explicit about their concerns about racism, to engage others in the discourse and to “embrace emotional danger.” In suppressing those emotions we often “withdraw from the struggle,” she said. “Let the emotions that are going to happen, happen.”
Depending on diversity to bring us together as society isn’t sufficient, Sen said. “It can mean you’re bringing people to the party but it doesn’t say anything about what happens when they get into the room.” If the party doesn’t suit them, she said, they’ll just go home.
Sen herself immigrated from India at a young age and strove to be “American.” She avoided politics until, as a college student, her friends persuaded her to join a rally for racial justice. She learned then that “being an American is not about eating hot dogs or looking like Marcia Brady. It’s investing in the community in which you find yourself.”
Rachel Brett, a graduate in environmental studies, read the sustainability pledge. This is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the pledge, which more than 200,000 students have taken.
Christopher Green, a new graduate from the Environmental Studies department, and Jessica Skinner, MS ’10, played and sang You Can Close Your Eyes, written by James Taylor.
Edouard Carignan, PsyD ’01, an alumnus; Charlton MacVeagh of AUNE’s board of trustees, and Janet Morgan of Antioch University’s board of governors also spoke. The Monadnock Brass Quintet provided music.
These degrees were awarded:
175 master’s degrees in applied psychology, education, environmental studies, and management
One doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy
Thirteen doctoral degrees (PsyD) in clinical psychology
Seven doctoral degrees (PhD) in environmental studies
For the 2011-2012 school year, 188 master’s, twenty-eight doctoral degrees, and fifty-five certificates will have been conferred on AUNE students.
Read the Keene Sentinel’s coverage of AUNE’s Commencement.
The Sustainability Pledge: I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any activity I practice and will strive to improve these aspects of my personal life, and of any communities, ecosystems, and organizations with which I participate.